Tweeting live from Coachella, my colleague Liset Marquez reports that in Sunday’s appearance, Cold War Kids singer Nathan Willett introduced “Drive Desperate” this way: “I just wanna say, we namecheck Pomona in this song.” The crowd, alas, did not go wild. (If they had, I would have a book to recommend.)
The lyrics, from their 2014 album “Hold My Home,” begin like this: “The road/a yellow line unfolds/Jagged then corrodes/Pomona first of all/Machines they rush in a trance…”
I can’t really tell you what it’s about, certainly driving, maybe street racing? The band formed in Fullerton, by the way, and is based in Long Beach. Anyway, no video from Coachella is available, but above is the band performing the song at another festival, Lollapalooza, in 2015.
Wednesday’s column revisits the matter of Frank Zappa’s apparent attendance at Claremont High in the early 1950s — with the discovery of a yearbook with his signature in it. Other pieces of Zappa information are also explored.
As is well documented, Frank Zappa lived in Ontario in the early 1960s, near the musicians’ store Ontario Music. But it was still cool to see these business cards unearthed by his son Dweezil recently and posted on Twitter.
The Eagles perform at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. 5/22/10 Ontario, CA. Photo by Kelly A. Swift
Friday’s column presents some news that surprised me: Not only did the Eagles (whose founding member Glenn Frey died this week) perform in Ontario in 1974 and 2010, but they rehearsed for their 2013-15 world tour here too, in secrecy. I’ve also got a couple of Culture Corner items and word of an O’Day Short tribute event.
Sunday’s column marks a footnote in music history: the day Frank Zappa’s band adopted the name the Mothers, later to become the Mothers of Invention, before a gig in Pomona. That occurred May 9, 1965 — 50 years ago.
Above, the former Broadside Club, top, seen in 2000 by Zappa fan Peter Mackay, and a current view by yours truly; below, the Sportsman Tavern, again by Mackay in 2000 and yours truly today. Their significance is explained in the column. Neither bar was open in 2000, having closed decades before, but at least the buildings look closer to their original form then.
Incidentally, the Frank Zappa Chronology (disclamatory motto: “Information is Not Knowledge”) was invaluable in fixing dates and locations.
Claudia Lennear, right, talks about her musical experiences Saturday with KSPC-FM’s DJ Ike Rhythm (as station general manager Erica Tyron handles the sound duties). This took place on the stage at Claremont’s Rhino Records. Were you there? A few dozen of us were, and the talk was fascinating. Lennear, you’ll recall, was a ’60s and ’70s backup singer who was featured in the documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” and she lives in Pomona.
I shot two short videos. In one, she talks about her 1973 solo song “Not at All,” about Mick Jagger, and in the other, she performs the song “Gee Whiz” a cappella.
Friday’s column is a paean to the 1989 Beastie Boys album that came out 25 years ago today. There’s even a local angle: the Dust Brothers, who co-produced, met at the Claremont radio station in 1985.
You might say this column has been in the works for years. I learned about the duo’s Claremont connection back in 1998 or so when researching notable people who attended school in the Inland Valley. A year ago, I read the “33 1/3” book on “Paul’s Boutique,” which goes into great detail on its making and tells about the KSPC connection. But that was around the time of the album’s 24th anniversary. (In hip-hop terms, the timing was ill.) So I took notes on a paper napkin (!) of page numbers for easy reference, put the napkin in the book and made a note on my calendar for 2014, learning delightedly that the anniversary coincided with a column day.
And here I am with a column. See, I only make it look easy.
Sunday’s column tells a story about the above photograph from an early Nirvana concert as I interview the guy at the far left in the Angry Samoans shirt. He’s Bob Durkee, a punk fan who was connected to the Pomona scene during the ’80s. I let him talk about that and about how he ended up in an iconic photo.
You can listen to audio of the 45-minute concert here.
Reader Richard Nunez of Pomona reminds us that after the April 6, 1974 California Jam concert at Ontario Motor Speedway, another mega-concert was planned for that Aug. 3: Summer Jam West.
he bill: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Beach Boys, plus Joe Walsh and Jesse Colin Young, with “special guest” The Band. What a show that would have been.
Ticket price: $12.50, a bump from California Jam’s $10. (Nunez was at Cal Jam too.) Nunez’ bill is for $13.25, including 75 cents tax, from a Ticketron outlet at Sears in Pomona.
Evidently ticket sales were soft and the show was canceled. It was CSNY’s only L.A.-area date in their summer tour. A few days later, roughly the same lineup appeared in New York and drew a reported 75,000.
“I kept the ticket instead of getting my money back,” big spender Nunez says. “Now that would have been a great time. You should have been there lol.”
Although there was talk of more concerts at the speedway after Cal Jam, I don’t know that any took place until Cal Jam II on March 18, 1978.
California Jam, a rock festival that took place April 6, 1974, at Ontario Motor Speedway, drew 200,000 people. My Sunday column hits some of the high points. Allen Pamplin of the California Jam Fan Club on Facebook sent me multiple photos. Here are 10. The two above originally came from Alan Lancendorfer.
The above four are uncredited. The bottom four were contributed by promoter and emcee Don Branker. Rare Earth, the day’s first band, is performing in the next to last image. A roadie adjusts a microphone in the final image.